New year, new you: 2024 got off to a bang with a number of seafood executives heading for new opportunities.

Here is our roundup of the biggest movers in January.

Norwegian cod farmer appoints new CEO, CFO

Norwegian cod farmer Statt Torsk named a new CEO and CFO following its recent absorption by whitefish group Vesteralen Havbruk and subsequent delisting from the Euronext Growth stock exchange.

Rune Eriksen, formerly general manager and production director at Norcod, has been appointed as the company's new CEO, and Vesteralen Havbruk's Martin Kvaernstuen was named the company's new CFO.

Former CEO Gustave Brun-Lie and Bjug Borgund stepped down following the merger and delisting.

Rune Eriksen Photo: Vesterålen Havbruk


Aquaculture biotech company bolsters UK operations with new appointments

Aquaculture biotech company Benchmark is making two new appointments at its UK operations as it intensifies its focus on the country's aquaculture industry.

The group is promoting Harry Tziouvas to the role of commercial lead UK and global land-based, and adding Alex Kulczyk in the role of sales and technical UK associate.

Harry Tziouvas Photo: Benchmark


Key halibut farming executive departs

Nordic Halibut CFO Kenneth Meyer is stepping down from his role.

Meyer, who joined the company in 2020 as business controller, has decided to explore new career opportunities.

The executive will remain in his post until the end of May to enable a smooth transition, and Nordic Halibut is now searching for Meyer's replacement.

Kenneth Meyer Photo: Kenneth Meyer/Linkedin


BioMar appoints new commercial chief for Chile

Denmark-based aquafeed giant BioMar promoted Gabriela Heim to commercial director for Chile.

Heim starts in her new role on April 1.

She will be responsible for leading BioMar Chile's commercial team and strategy, strengthening existing customer relationships and exploring new growth opportunities.

BioMar Chile named Derek Kohn as its new managing director in September.

Gabriela Heim Photo: BioMar


Former Google, Microsoft executive takes up the reins at Kontali

Norway-based seafood analytics and research firm Kontali appointed former Google and Microsoft executive Kjetil Angell Kjerstad as its new CEO. He takes over the role April 1.

Kjerstad is currently head of B2C business development and strategy at telecommunications company Telia Norway. He is the former head of Google Ads in Norway. His career also includes executive positions at Microsoft Norway and Telenor.

Kjetil Angell Kjerstad Photo: Kontali


After three decades with New Zealand's largest salmon farmer, ex-CEO quits board

Paul Steere, a 30-year veteran of New Zealand's largest salmon farmer, made his final exit from the company, stepping down from the board as a non-executive director and chair of the audit, finance and risk committee.

Steere began as New Zealand King Salmon's first CEO in 1994 and held the helm at the company for 15 years, until moving to a position on the board in 2009.

Steere has been an important figure in Australasian aquaculture, stepping up to chair Australian tuna farmer Clean Seas Tuna in 2010, a role he exited in 2017.

Replacing Steere at New Zealand King Salmon' is Paul Munro, who comes with a background in finance, including 24 years with Deloitte as a corporate finance partner.

Steere will officially resign March 31.

Paul Steere Photo: NZKS


Former top seafood analyst exits land-based role

Former top seafood analyst Kolbjorn Giskeodegard left his role at European land-based salmon project Columbi Salmon and returned to work at Nordea Bank.

Giskeodegard started his new role in January, which involves assisting large companies with capital raising, initial public offerings (IPOs) and acquisitions, among other things.

For several years, Giskeodegard was one of Norway's most high-profile share analysts in the seafood industry. In the summer of 2020, he left Nordea to become founder and CFO of the startup land-based salmon farming company, Columbi Salmon.

Kolbjorn Giskeødegard Photo: Ole Erik Klokeide


Marel loses chief operating officer in latest shakeup

Icelandic processing equipment manufacturer Marel announced in January that Linda Jonsdottir is stepping down from her role as chief operating officer and leaving the company.

In addition, the group said the role of COO will be discontinued and the management of the business functions and customer centers will be moved to other members of the executive leadership.

Jonsdottir joined Marel in 2009 as corporate director of treasury and investor relations. She became CFO in 2014 and was appointed COO in 2022.

Linda Jonsdottir Photo: Marel


US distributor brings aboard 6 new senior executives

US seafood supplier Fortune International appointed six senior executives to help fuel the company's continued growth.

The company named Joel Jorgensen as its chief financial officer, Richard Deferia as its chief revenue officer and Kevin Hoople as its chief information officer.

It also named Ethan Farber vice president of marketing, Steven Gwozdz as vice president of frozen seafood and Trey Kidd as market vice president of Texas.

Joel Jorgensen Photo: Joel Jorgensen


Smoked salmon giant names new CEO

Brooklyn, New York-based Acme Smoked Fish, the largest smoked salmon supplier in North America, in January named a new CEO, replacing two members of the founding Caslow family in their executive roles.

Eduardo Carbajosa, who took on the CEO role earlier in the month, joined Acme in 2007 as CFO, later moving into an executive director role. He was promoted to president in 2020.

David and Adam Caslow, members of what is now a four-generation family of owners, served as co-CEOs at the group prior to Carbajosa taking over.

David, who now serves as chairman of the Acme board, said the shift in roles is part of a planned transition for an internal candidate to move into an operational role while the family concentrates on business development and growth.

Eduardo Carbajosa Photo: IntraFish Events


Alaska processor names new COO

OBI Seafoods, one of Alaska's largest seafood producers, named Brian O'Leary its new chief operating officer (COO).

O'Leary was promoted to the role in January. He has previously served as the vice president of the company's Prince William Sound and Kodiak Island operations. He has also served as OBI's vice president of Alaska for its processing facilities in Seward and Cordova.

Major executive shakeups at OBI have happened in recent months as the company embarks on what it describes as its "growth succession plan."

OBI Seafoods' Larsen Bay processing plant in Alaska. Photo: OBI Seafoods


CEO of Peter Pan Seafood steps down

After little more than a year on the job, the CEO of Alaska processor Peter Pan Seafood left the company in January.

Former Thai Union executive Kevin Bixler, who joined Peter Pan in November 2022, replaced longtime company CEO Barry Collier, who exited the company in March 2021.

Collier's departure came as the "new" Peter Pan was taking shape in the wake of the acquisition of the company by Rodger May and private equity groups McKinley Capital and RRG Capital Management.

Kevin Bixler Photo: ISSF


Former Mowi executive named CEO of salmon exporter

Norwegian salmon exporter Sekkingstad named former Mowi executive Andreas Mikalsen as its new CEO.

He joins Sekkingstad from aquaculture technology company Aquabyte, where he was director of customer experience for the past year.

Before Aquabyte, Mikalsen spent more than 10 years at Mowi, where he was managing director for its global raw material and trade supply chain.

He has also held roles within food retail at Lidl International and COOP in Norway, and served as a board member of the Norwegian Seafood Council (NSC) for four years.

Andreas Mikalsen Photo: Sekkingstad


CEO at key feed producer steps down

Hugo Carillo, CEO of South American feed producer Vitapro, said in Janaury he is stepping down.

Carrillo is leaving after nearly 29 years at Vitapro parent group Alicorp, where he has also held the rank of vice president, he said on his LinkedIn page.

Fabricio Vargas has been named as Carrillo's replacement, and Alvaro Correa Malachowski steps into the role of CEO of Vitapro's parent group Alicorp beginning March 1.

Hugo Carrillo Photo: Hugo Carrillo


Nissui-backed shrimp mega-farm brings new commercial director onboard

The Australian producer behind plans for the world's biggest land-based shrimp farm hired a new commercial director in January to help drive funding.

Seafarms Group appointed Peter Fraser to the role of commercial director for its Project Sea Dragon shrimp project.

For the past 14 years, Fraser has been the proprietor and managing director of Perth-based Ocean and Earth Seafoods, specializing in high-end seafood products.

Peter Fraser Photo: LinkedIn


Top sustainability executive leaves Walmart seafood supplier after one year

The top sustainability executive at frozen seafood group The Fishin' Company left her role after just one year on the job in January.

Susanna Wingard Brian began working as director of sustainability and traceability at The Fishin' Company, one of the largest frozen seafood suppliers to Walmart, in December 2022, according to her LinkedIn profile.

In an update in January, Brian said she has rejoined The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) in Washington, DC as manager of the NGO's seafood markets area.

Brian worked for several years at WWF on seafood initiatives, including on the Global Dialogue on Seafood Traceability (GDST) project. She also worked at Sustainable Fishery Partnership.

The Fishin' Company has seen a steady stream of top executive exits in recent years, including a president, chief operating officer and chief financial officer.

Susanna Wingard Brian Photo: LinkedIn


Land-based fish farmer brings ex-Cargill director onboard

Netherlands-based The Kingfish Company announced the hire of a new commercial director Gudo Klein Gebbink, who joins the land-based yellowtail farmer after his role as managing director for Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) at Dutch farming cooperative Royal Agrifirm Group.

Before that he worked at animal nutrition giant Cargill for more than five years, most recently as strategic marketing and technology director and assistant managing director EMEA.

"This role is pivotal in driving the expansion of our customer base and boosting sales across both existing and new markets,” said CEO Vincent Erenst.

Gudo Klein Gebbink Photo: Royal Agrifirm Group


Land-based salmon farmer hires new CFO

Nutreco-backed land-based salmon farmer Nordic Aqua Partners appointed Tom Johan Austrheim as chief financial officer in January.

Austrheim will take over the job from Hjalti Hvitklett later this year, and Hvitklett will resume the role of finance director. Austrheim previously served as CFO at Norwegian offshore wind energy company Edda Wind.

The company said strengthening the CFO position is necessary to accomplish its medium and long-term growth strategy.

Tom Johan Austrheim Photo: Edda Wind


Feed giant appoints new director to accelerate Vietnam shrimp business

Denmark-based feed group BioMar appointed Duong Anh Tu as managing director for its joint venture in Vietnam, BioMar Viet Uc.

Anh Tu, who will take up the position in February, previously worked for feed group Cargill and agri-business Olam Global Agri.

He will replace Franck Bodin, who was hired to launch the business in Vietnam and was instrumental in establishing the BioMar Viet Uc feed brand in the local market, BioMar said.

BioMar Asia Vice President Francois Loubere said Anh Tu was chosen to lead "the next phase of our growth of the shrimp feed business."

Duong Anh Tu Photo: BioMar

Download the IntraFish app
Stay a step ahead on seafood. Get news, analysis and insight on-the-go with the IntraFish app.